La Vinyeta

Spending a few action packed days in BCN felt like it warranted a weekend excursion up to Costa Brava. The plan was to bounce around from town to town, eating, drinking, swimming, hiking.... well you get it. We chose to start at the most northerly point we would be at and then work our way down the coast. After doing some research on the Empordá wine region I found what appeared to be an awesome small-production winery run by a younger generation of people who were doing things a little differently. 

La Vinyeta is located in the town of Mollet de Peralada, just under an hour to the closest border with France. Upon arriving we walked into a small building that houses pretty much everything. It smelled oddly like tomatoes and we were later told that was because they have a garden and use their tomatoes to make conserves. Downstairs holds the fermentation tanks and bottling machine and just off to the side of that was a separate barrel room. This VERY small winery has 10 people working year round as well as the owners, Josep and Marta. It is clearly a very passionate and driven group of people who work around the clock to get everything done. 

On our tour of the vineyard our host, Alizee told us all about the winery's beginnings (just over 10 years ago) and how the couple met and came to own this property and winery. When they acquired the land there were no vines on it yet so they did all the planting themselves. They did did discover, however, an olive tree grove that had been nicknamed the "dark forest" by the local teenagers. This "dark forest" was apparently a place to make out back in the day before Josep and Marta made it their vineyard. So besides wines and tomato conserves, they also make olive oil! From the vineyard we made it over to the chicken coop which houses over 1000 hens. Apparently the couple wasn't satisfied with the idea of wasting all of the grape refuse post-production so they started using it like a compost between the rows of vines and discovered that birds loved eating it. So why not chickens? They can eliminate waste more easily and now they have eggs to eat and provide to local restaurants.

The tasting the day we went was held outside on the patio overlooking the vineyard and we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves. All the wines we tasted were incredible and each label had a very personal story. My favorite had to be the Heus line of wines. Heus meaning "once" in Catalan, the label was designed to look like the first page of an old book, it was their way of signifying that this line of wines was young and meant to be drunk early. As the wines progressed, each label had some significance to the owners. If I didn't have to travel so far I would have taken them all home with me. I was so impressed with how dedicated and intimate this project seems. Everyone was so friendly and seemed genuinely happy to be there. It was a great way to start our mini tour of northern Cataluñya.